Expecting a single night security guard to raise an alarm before a potential security threat, and to do so before being silenced by the thieves, would be a tad too much to ask for any organization. Mannapuram Finance is no different. The security guards at this non-banking, finance organization were not safeguarding cash but gold ornaments of customers, and they hardly came across as solid deterrents to determined miscreants.
“We have had cases where security guards have been killed at night,” says Mohan Vizhakat, CTO and EVP, Manappuram Finance. Surely, a single night guard on duty was simply not enough and left serious gaps in the physical security system of the company.
If someone comes to break open a branch and get into a vault, it will take him minimum one hour to maneuver his way to the gold. “We have a one-hour window to react, so we thought if we have a reactive system in place, miscreants will know better than to enter any of the Manappuram branches,” says Vizhakat.
Against such a problem, Vizhakat had the tough task of turning technology into a potential solution. He not only wanted to make the security monitoring system robust, but also control the spiraling cost of physical security. Earlier, the company spent over Rs 70 crore every year across its 3,200 branches in order to maintain a certain level of security, but now, a new, two-fold security system–cameras and AIAMS–brought the cost down to Rs 15 crore.
This is how: “After establishing a comprehensive video surveillance system through high resolution IP cameras, all our branches got under continuous remote surveillance,” says Vizhakat. To capture all movements clearly, three IP-based cameras were installed in all branch premises. They stored and monitored video clips continuously for a period of 45 days. Vizhakat says, “Every night when our broadband/MPLS communication connections are free, the bandwidth is utilized for uploading the stored video clips into our central server network storage system.”
At the same time, highly sensitive intrusion alert sensors like contact sensors, IR-based proximity sensors, and vibration sensors were installed at various points of entry within the branches. This solution is called Automatic Intrusion Alert Management System or AIAMS.
“IP receivers collate alerts by way of existing MPLS links and transfer them to the central alert management system located in Thrissur, Valappad. An alert will also get automatically generated at the central hub in case of power link/router failure which will get treated as an intrusion attempt for mitigated response,” he adds.
Electronic relay systems dispatch alerts to regional security patrols and quick-reaction teams. The alerts get collated in AIAMS by using a software called Patriot. They get dispatched in the form of SMSes, e-mails and automated telephone calls.
Consider this: An intrusion attempt happens in one of the branches at Mumbai. Now, information will automatically flow to the quick-reaction team placed closest to the particular branch. The nearest security agency mitigates the threat. The threat alert also goes to the central management system and the local security agencies near the site.
“The whole process is tuned such that the nearest quick-reaction team will reach the site between 15 to 30 minutes of alert generation,” says Vizhakat. “As the CTO, my role is to make sure that the connectivity is robust and the network IT infrastructure is able to support the passage of the video stream.”
The project was started in November last year and has already covered over 1000 branches. According to Vizhakat, within the next few months, video surveillance and AIAMS will be implemented all over the country, even in remote places like Andaman and Nicobar Islands.